Repsol Press Release: HRC Boss Nakamoto Talks About Fuel

With the fuel restriction of just 21 liters for a 110 kilometer race in place, the importance of fuel in MotoGP cannot be overstated, as HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto explained last week at the Brno test. Yesterday, the Repsol Media service issued a press release containing an interview with Nakamoto-san, in which the HRC boss discussed the subject further. The press release containing his insights into the role that fuel plays in MotoGP is below:

The challenge for HRC and Repsol: more power, less consumption

The rider, the bike, the tyres and the engineers are the four key factors in the performance of a motorsport racing team. At the Repsol Honda Team, the fuel and lubricant are also decisive factors.

When Repsol landed in the official Honda HRC team —the strongest team of the Motorcycling World Championship— back in 1995, one of the main objectives of the Spanish energy company and his Japanese partner was the joint development of their own fuel and lubricant that will offer new characteristics compared with what was used at that time.

With an intense joint work, the Repsol and HRC engineers developed the fuel of the current 4-stroke bikes and the success arrived soon. The introduction in 2012 of the 1000cc engines is a new challenge for the researchers of the Repsol Technology Centre and for the HRC engineers. To speak about the importance of research, development and innovation in top level racing, nobody better than Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda HRC vice-president and spearhead of the Repsol Honda Team at the Motorcycling World Championship.

"Thanks to the fuel that our partner Repsol supplies to us, consumption has been reduced; our engines use a little less and that is due to the fuel. We work very closely with our partners, in fact, we have a test MotoGP engine at the Repsol Technology Centre of the company in Mostoles. For some time our engineers travel to Madrid regularly to collaborate with them and their Spanish counterparts due the same, visiting our headquarters in Saitama", explains Nakamoto.

At the World Championship, working at the top level and managing significant budgets, consumption is supposed to be unimportant, but it is not so, as one of the technical rules that regulate a MotoGP bike's architecture is specifically the limitation of the fuel tank's capacity to 21 litres. That means that for Sunday's race the bike of the premiere category have a limited quantity available to complete all laps. Taking into account that those bikes have great power and need to keep their competitive level during the whole race, to achieve a lower consumption was undoubtedly a great challenge for the Repsol and HRC engineers.

"There are two notable aspects when it comes to fuel. The first one is that a good fuel must offer a significant improvement to the engine's set-up and its response, making the power curve more usable. The second important point is consumption and its reduction, which allows to have a good fuel, always keeping the same performance level. This becomes even more difficult when at the time of developing a fuel you need to take into account the current FIM regulations, as before it was easier to find points for improvement, specially in the power department, but now the FIM applies many restrictions to fuel development", states Nakamoto.

"And another of the challenges for racing fuel and lubricant is to keep the engine in perfect conditions during the maximum possible number of kilometres, thus increasing its lifespan", adds the head of the Repsol Honda Team.

"The combustion process is the result of mixing fuel and air. A basic concept is that you can have the same performance and power with more air and less fuel. This way fuel is saved and the weight of the bike is reduced. Due to the evolution done by our HRC personnel together with the Repsol engineers, we achieved a fuel that, despite offering the same performance as fuels from other brands, allows us to reduce consumption and, in this moments —with the 21 litre limitation— is a particularly valuable feature. We can say that with the fuel developed jointly with Repsol we achieved a better proportion between fuel and air".

Energy efficiency and environmental care

To the technical requirements add to the concerns for the environment. "The rule that compels us to have a tank of a 21-litre maximum capacity is a great challenge. We had to adapt ourselves to the environment and starting with the experience we have in MotoGP, we can apply that knowledge afterwards to other engines of daily use for the road. Both Honda HRC and Repsol are concerned about the environment, so our work is aimed at reducing consumption and emissions, but always keeping the highest performance level in such a technically demanding competition as the MotoGP World Championship".

To that end, the knowledge exchange between Honda HRC and Repsol is constant. The MotoGP experience is transferred to the Honda factories and the Repsol service stations. "Both in Honda HRC and in Repsol we are very conscious of the importance of environmental care, so we use technical solutions in racing that we know that when applied to production engines can offer more performance while respecting the environment. Japanese environmental and emissions regulations are very strict, so we have a lot of experience in that field in production engines. In fact, I am able to confirm that the development of the 1000cc bike engine we will use the next season has some aspects of the technology of production engines that Honda equips in specific models of its production bikes".

Continuing with the consumption concept, Nakamoto adds: "While last year the development of the fuel jointly with the Repsol engineers was focused in achieving the performance of the 1000cc engine we are developing, this year our engineers and Repsol's centred their job in consumption and in reducing it to the minimum possible quantity. The new 2010 regulations offers us a great challenge: same fuel capacity (21 litres) for higher displacement and power with the 1000cc engine. Thus the key will not be to achieve a higher horsepower, but to reduce the consumption for a higher performance. It is a great technological challenge for the Honda HRC and Repsol engineers".

"These new rules are an incentive to keep working for the environment. This leading fuel technology that is being developed by Repsol will be available, sooner or later, in their service stations, thus benefiting the final costumer and, above all, the environment", concludes Nakamoto.


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"..a great technological challenge for the Honda HRC and Repsol engineers".
but most race fans are heartily sick of this rule, which alongside the electronics needed to manage the meagre fuel limit, have turned the series into a comparative snorefest.

He is pretty big too on citing FIM regs and rules when Hondas agenda forced these limits through. I'd love to see an Aprilia engined CRT with a bigger fuel tank and engine allocation take it to them next year..but it won't happen, and even if it did they'd revoke CRT status and claim for 20k Euro..20k? Haha..You gotta laugh or else you'd cry.

Let them have direct fuel injection in Moto3 so they can bugger off there and conduct economy trials, leaving the big class for the best riders taming the wildest mothersmoking bikes on the planet.

Here's hoping all riders boycott Motegi and get sacked then turn up in BSB where TC and rider aids are getting the bullet next year. MSVR and Palmer would turn GP back into a riders championship whereas now it's all about the bike.

"..a great technological challenge for the Honda HRC and Repsol engineers".

Which of course also benefits those with the deepest pockets to research and develop this kind of fuel.

They can state it however they want, the fuel limit makes the racing more boring.

Let them have 23 or 24 litre tanks, if the factories can use a bit less than that well they can run a couple of kilo`s lighter. If the FIM wants to run an index of thermal efficency they can use Moto3, these things will be so slow no one will notice any way.

That was one for the sponsors I think. Here's my decoding:
"Actually the FIM fuel specs are so tight that we could pour any of the homologated fuels in and it would be exactly the same. However, Repsol give us lots of money so I'll say that their fuel is really good and special. Oh, I have to say it's good for the environment too, or the press office will kick my arse. Is there anything else? Can I go now?"

Or is it the electronics & GPS that control every point on the track and every opening of the throttle, or the on rails chassis', or the tyres that grip to infinity, or the finely honed skills of the elite riders. Or the whole damn lot collectively?

Or can all of that be over run with big balled moves like Stoner on his two fellow Aliens at Laguna? It's still the rider yanking the throttle solenoids and throwing out the anchors.

Fuel - what they really want to do with fuel, is control horse power development. stopping easy gains from adding more fuel, force gains to be made from huge financial investments in engine design, eliminating just about everyone else from the contest. and going in a direction that few can follow.

Electronic aids - take an average GP rider and close the gap in skills to the front of the pack.

Both made for television and monopoly

Sad what GP has become

Thankfully, words cannot adequately express the harm I wish upon the people who put through the fuel limits. They put corporate bullshit in a pram, and then tried to pass it off as a beautiful baby. They don't understand that the 21L rule is still standing b/c fans have no idea what the 21L rule does to the sport. Just look at the number of posts. The fans who know what 21L does to the sport, hate it, and no spin-doctor is going to fix the situation with boring bi-annual press releases. The 21L rule is dead-weight loss for MotoGP.

Okay, the manufacturers want a 21L rule which makes the racing boring, but it develops new technology. Where's the tech? Locked away in a vault somewhere? The fans have access to it via POS press releases that are full of half-truths and glittering generalities. Most of the fuel-saving mechanical technology will likely never make it to production. The chemical technologies will never make it to production b/c they are cost prohibitive. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, MSMA.

Dorna want a 24L formula b/c it will create a dynamic sport with a thriving B2B empire behind the scenes. Some fans can see the beauty of it, most are clueless. Obviously, Dorna need to build a market for 24L 81mm 1000cc machines. Put Ezpeleta's bonus on ice, and use the money to hire buzz-worthy companies (Motocycsz, MV, Norton, etc.) to build mock-ups (no one knows they are mockups) that look like sex on wheels. Start a story line that the bikes were designed to race in a 24L formula. Run the story through the blogosphere, and see what happens. If it gets popular, what are the MSMA going to do? Commit suicide by hating on an idea that has critical mass? Bail on an enthusiastic market-segment?

Bridgepoint seem to think they can make money by purchasing WSBK, cutting its balls off, and then foiling MotoGP against the neutered SBKs.

Motorsport is mainly pointless and aspirational. Small-minded people cannot be in charge. They sound like terminally-ill cancer patients who are bargaining for a few extra days of life. MotoGP needs a cure, not prolonged misery.

You really are the ultimate negative conspiracy theorist.
Can you please explain to me exactly how the 21L rule makes the racing boring when the machines already have more power than they can usefully put to ground?

I'm talking about an industry, and a global manufacturing base for high-performance racing equipment of the MotoGP/F1 genre. You ask me a question about horsepower vs tires?

Have you even considered the implications of what you posted? If the bikes have more power over race distance than they can put to the ground, the 21L rule wouldn't be limiting anything, and no one would be paying any attention to it. I wish that was happening, but it's not.

who built the sport, spent countless hours and millions on it for us to be able to sit on the couch to watch racing and maybe spend a few bucks to pay for cable tv or buy a pass to watch MotoGP...

It doesn't mean you have to agree with all the decisions of the organizers and manufacturers involved but you may be grateful for all the years of good racing that we have known thanks to them and start showing some respect for their work, even if it is far from perfect (who is?), even if you don't like these past 4 or 5 seasons...
The people you dislike so much, whatever you may think of their actions, do an awful lot more for the sport than any of us spectators...combined.

Sure you understand the sport so much better than the HRC and Dorna guys, and you would very easily sell the 24 liters to Honda bosses to keep them pouring millions in MotoGP, you know all the ins and outs of negotiations and investment in MotoGP, that's what makes us armchair experts isn't it?

Or maybe there is much more than meets the eye, maybe there are counterparts to these millions spent and it becomes more and more difficult to justify these expenses with little to no return on investment, maybe we don't have all the facts from our external point of view, as suggested by key players such as Nakamoto-san or Furosawa-san.

If it makes you so angry maybe you should stop watching MotoGP, you'll live longer.

There is, indeed, much more to the situation than meets the eye. Motorsports fans have Stockholm syndrome. No one defies the manufacturers b/c the manufacturers control most of the fans and most of the personnel. The manufacturers spend billions on brand allegiance. Dorna spend almost nothing b/c they are accustomed to having an FIM-sponsored monopoly.

Dorna have to build a market if they want to get anything done. The fans go wherever the manufacturers wish them to go, and they tell others to pay homage along the way.